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Irish Hospice Foundation and Creative Ireland fund 27 projects creatively exploring dying, death, and bereavement

Date posted: 5 December 2021

House of Memory by architect David Kelly,  commissioned by Architecture at the Edge, Galway International Arts Festival 2021. House of Memory was the recipient of the first round of the Irish Hospice Foundation's Seed Grant scheme.

The Irish Hospice Foundation has awarded seed grants to 27 projects to support creative exploration of dying, death, and bereavement, funded by the Creative Ireland Programme.

IHF received 91 applications to support people and communities in their creative exploration of grief and loss. This is the second round of funding that has been made available for such projects this year.

The 27 chosen recipients, representing 11 counties in total, reflect an eclectic range of work, practice, medium, approach, abilities, and age groups. They include acute hospitals, residential care homes, nursing homes, secondary schools, community groups, migrating populations, and the marginalised.

Projects will develop from December 2021 until April 2022. The themes and areas to be touched on explore all areas of death and grief from life limiting illnesses and early years bereavement, to suicide and our funeral and burial customs. The memorialising and processing of grief will be reflected in the projects through the use of photography, creative and documentary filmmaking, glass fusions, storytelling, stage plays, poetry, translations, audio recordings, memorabilia, music, poetry, and the more traditional arts, such as painting, quilting, and knitting.

Projects include:

  • Living while Dying with Pain (Dublin): Marian Clarke and Talitha Kay will lead an exploration of the experiences of loss, grief, and resilience among two hidden communities in Ireland. Five female refugees and five women living with chronic pain will be invited to explore their experiences through photography, drawing, and poetry.
  • Méala Circle Heir Island (West Cork): Death Douala apprentice, Anna Cosgrave, will host Méala Circle Inis Uí Drisceoil on Heir Island. The event will engage islanders on mortality and memorialisation and include local historians, poets and speakers from Skibbereen Hospital focusing on the theme ‘Ba mhéala a bhás / his death was to be lamented’ and the creation of a poem that will later be put to music.
  • Creative Writing in Grief Support (Wexford): Margaret Galvin, creative writing facilitator and published poet with an academic background in social care, will develop a workshop programme and tools for people providing bereavement support whether as counsellors or volunteers. Participants will be equipped with creative writing skills as a practical and proven intervention suitable for bereaved people.
  • Remembering (in a Time of Change) (Dublin): As Curator of the Arts in Health Programme of Children’s Health Ireland (CHI), Mary Grehan will work closely with artist Marie Brett exploring ways to make a space for grief, loss, and remembering within the built environment of the new Dublin children’s hospital.
  • Blankets of Hope (Waterford): Mary Kelly, along with the Deise Woman’s Shed in Waterford, will knit and crochet an array of blankets and shawls for people of all ages facing life-limiting conditions like cancer, dementia, and Parkinson’s, who are receiving treatment at Waterford University Hospital and Dungarvan Community Hospital.
  • Memory Making (Dublin): Bettina Korn, an End-of-Life Care Coordinator with the Hospice Friendly Hospital Programme at St. James’s Hospital, will run a series of art workshops to facilitate the hospital’s care staff as they recall their experiences of caring for terminally ill patients during the pandemic. A series of collages reflecting their collective memories will be created for display near the Camino Rest, a non-denominational place of sanctuary within the hospital.
  • Art and Creative Space (Louth): Vicky McGauley will engage with the residents, visitors, and staff of St Joseph’s Nursing Home in Ardee, Co Louth, in the creation of a mural to enhance a room designated as a quiet space for anyone in need of time out for reflection.

Information on all the projects awarded seed grants can be found on the Irish Hospice Foundation website.

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